Help!: IVF and Marriage dilemma

I apologize ahead of time as this will probably be long…

My wife and I have been trying for 3 years to have a child, and after trying everything we are left with IVF.
I’ve come back to the faith about 4 years ago and my wife, who is also a confirmed Catholic, has started coming back as well i.e. attending mass, praying, etc. But she doesn’t “buy” into all of it like abortion, gay marriage… I on the other hand read religious text, listen to answer/ question Catholic radio (Catholic Answers Live, Called to Communion, Open Line), Christ is the Answer, praying regularly, going on a retreat, and trying to live the faith the best I can. She feels I am overboard with it, but I don’t force it down anyone’s throat but I do try to expose her to it.

I had mentioned at the start of our infertility that I was willing to try fertility treatments but didn’t want to do IVF. After 4 IUIs (Inter Uterine Insemination [which the Church is still on the fence about for the most part]), IVF came up again and I had restated I didn’t like it for the moral reason that the Catholic Church states and tried to explain to her what I believed the taught on the subject. After some debate I said, “let’s go talk to our priest”.
We sat down with him and we explained the situation and instead of him backing what the church teaches he said, go ahead and do it, it’s out of love, you’ve tried everything else, the technology is there to try to help people in this situation.

I was taken back and confused. I had then gotten into a discussion with him about the catechism and church teachings… he said that it was man made, a guide, they didn’t have IVF back then and cant really talk about it, that it was the church’s opinion that it should not be done.

I had said I didn’t want to risk my soul by committing mortal sin by doing it and he got mad saying how our God wants to love and forgive and did I really think that God would punish us for trying to bring life to love and look up to God? Did I really think that would warrant Hell? I said no cause at the moment and they way he said it I felt sheepish. Then he had stated that if he was wrong that he would be the one responsible not me as he was the one who told us to do it.

My wife hangs her hat on that, though I had said if you had asked any other priest they would tell you the opposite and that it was immoral and should not be done. Which is what happened when I went on a retreat…

I had asked one of the priests how would one talk to a spouse about IVF and what the church teaches about it and after explaining what had happened with the other priest the retreat priest was shocked. Shocked that a priest would advice us to do something that the church teaches against.

We went through the catechism and if you read it it doesn’t say it’s a grave sin or at sin at all just says morally unacceptable, which you can say about things that people don’t like but aren’t illegal or necessarily wrong e.g. breastfeeding in public, inter-racial relationships, picking your nose, etc Then we got into the part about the procedure turing the baby into an object, dignity of the baby, and removing the marital act etc.
From my understanding the major thing the Church has against IVF is the numerous eggs fertilized v. the number of embryos placed back and how many embryos are frozen and frozen to begin with as well as what happens to them afterwards, and selective termination of too many successful implants. My wife had told me about Mini-IVF which only takes out the number of eggs to be fertilized and placed back in thus no frozen embryos and no selective termination therefore no abortion-esque actions. I am not 100% with it but find it more morally acceptable than full blown IVF.


That’s pretty much the back story here’s the crux of the matter…

We had a consult with the Dr. who went over everything. Not hearing anything about Mini-IVF in her presentation I ask her about it and she said that though it is less expensive it wasn’t as successful as regular IVF and that they only did it for women with a certain fertility issue my wife doesn’t have. I asked her about GiFT, which is a as of now acceptable technique by the Church where it is like IVF except it mostly if not all takes place in the body… the Dr. said that it was obsolete and that no one does it anymore in the last 20 years…

After the meeting, I was trying to soak it all in and my wife kept asking what was wrong and I asked for a moment to think and she pressed on. We started talking about how I don’t like it, I’m not comfortable with it and that I thought we’d be doing the mini and which point she said no because this had the most chances for success. I told her I didn’t like the abortive process of it, I didn;t like forcing nature or God’s hand, I didnt want to submit to my own will but to His’ alone. I wanted a gift of a child and not to engineer one in a lab. She ran through what our priest said and I believe he was wrong. IVF has higher than usual risks of birth defects and also higher risk for the mother, which she isn’t worried about herself, and I didn’t want to risk that either.

She started crying and explained how she wants to be a mom so bad, that it is all she thinks about and this might be her only way. I brought up adoption and she said she wanted to feel a baby grow inside her, have a baby shower, give birth and experience all that if she could first.

Then I started crying explaining why I dont like it and as much as I love her that I could not going against my conscience and go through with it. That is when she told me if we can’t try it, if this is where our infertility treatment stops then she couldn’t be with me, either we do the IVF or we’re done, and she can’t be with someone who wont try it and she needs to be with someone who will. I said I don’t know, I needed to think about it more and she said that she needed an answer either I’m in or I’m not. We then separated our ways, as in I went to think and she packed up a night bag and took the dog somewhere for the night and haven’t spoken since.

So… there it is. I don’t want to give in and I don’t want to side door God, do IVF then go to confession afterwards to make it OK, that’s not right. Quite the pickle I’m in, what do you think?

P.S. We are not in a valid marriage, which carries it’s own issues, but the same original priest said that we could still try for a baby and take communion because we are actively in the process of getting it valid… which the other priest heard of through conversation and told me that that too is not correct… so on top of all of this I can’t receive holy communion either.

IVF always includes multiple grave sins.

First, artificial procreation is intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral.

Second, they always create multiple embryos in the petri dish, and they destroy those they do not need.

Third, frozen embryos have very little chance of ever receiving implantation and birth. They usually are left frozen until no longer viable.

Fourth, there is a high rate of failure when embryos are implanted, so that multiple attempts are needed, thereby multiplying the number of conceived human persons which are killed.

Also “GiFT” is not morally acceptable. It is also gravely immoral. GiFT stands for gamete intra-fallopian transfer. It is a method of artificial procreation, similar to artificial insemination.

If a married Catholic couple are unable to conceive in the natural manner, they should consider adopting children.

If your marriage is not valid, it is gravely immoral to have sexual relations with your civil spouse/girlfriend.

Thank you for the reply, I am aware of most of that though from my research the church has not officially stated on GiFT (like i said hasnt been done in a while) or IUI, (though i am sure ZiFT is not allowed), regardless the point of my posts was about the ultimatum and what to do about it.

Thank you again!

Please take a look at NaPro!!! It follows Catholic teaching and is around 85% effective! Contrast this with IVF which is around 35% effective and NaPro is the clear winner! NaPro physicians look for (and try to fix) the cause of infertility rather than simply perform a procedure and hope it will work. My daughter and her husband were in much the same situation as you. They had tried for 8 years to conceive (including IUI) and ultimately decided to adopt the WORLD’s most adorable baby! Now, several years later, they decided to try again and were considering IVF when they found NaPro. The NaPro physician has discovered the problem which will be corrected surgically. Had they tried IVF, it would have failed…and the fertility clinic was all for giving it a try. The NaPro doctor not only discovered the abnormality but also diagnosed some hormonal imbalances that would have hindered fertility! The contrast between the NaPro physician and the infertility clinic is like night and day. Better yet, NaPro is non-profit and follows Catholic beliefs. My daughter, a non-Catholic by the way, is so impressed that she is now writing about the experience for the local newspaper. She doesn’t understand why she didn’t know about this sooner and is trying to let others know. If there is a NaPro physician in your area, I urge you to make an appointment and take a look.

Do you know anything about NaPro Technology?

Some astonishing facts about NaPro are:

*]It is more effective than IVF. Success rates are said to range from 40% to 60% vs. the IVF rate of 32.3% per cycle.

*]It costs only a fraction of what IVF costs.

*]It is almost 80% effective in bringing about childbirth after several miscarriages.

*]It is 95% successful in treating premenstrual syndrome.

*]It is 95% successful in treating postpartum depression.

*]It cuts the rate of premature birth by almost 50%, thus lowering the frequency of birth-related injuries.

*]With NaPro, you can have more children after the first without paying the same large cost again.19

The list of benefits seems to go on and on.

The per-woman live-birth rate for couples starting NaPro treatment is 45% at one year and 60% at two years. IVF centers report pregnancy rates per cycle instead of per woman, and in 2008, the per cycle live-birth rate for IVF in the United States was 34%.

Here is the story of a couple who had ‘trouble conceiving’ and conceived after NaPro Technology:

Check out the Pope Paul VI Institute For The Study of Human Reproduction:

I am so sorry that happened to you. Christ had very frightening things to say about those who lead his flock astray,

Rightly so! It is shocking that there are wolves where there should be shepherds, we forget that this problem goes back to the beginning.

I believe you have “morally unacceptable” and “socially unacceptable” confused.

Artificial conception is squarely a sin against the sixth commandment. Where embryos are discarded or killed, that is an additional sin against the fifth commandment.

I encourage you to read Domum Vitae and Dignitas Pesonae.

Correct, this is always wrong.

This is an incorrect understanding of the basis of the Church’s teaching against IVF. While destruction of embryos is an additional heinous crime against these children, IVF with only one embryo is equally wrong.

Donut Vitae and Dignitas Personae should be helpful to you. They are on the Vatican website.

Wow, that is a lot to be hit with. My heart goes out to you.

Whether she sees it or not, she has become so obsessed with having a child (and a baby shower of all things!) that she is in fact treating the child as an object of her possession, a product she has a right to purchase and produce-- exactly what the Church says is at the heart of the “wrongness” if these procedures.

She needs therapy. I hope she will get it. Issuing ultimatums in marriage is a bad

I think producing a child based on blackmail is a bad idea. You would be bringing this child into a very bad situation- what else might she blackmail you into next? A second child or else?

I would get as far away from that priest as possible, go to another parish. He is leading you down a very dark path.

This post is right Yes, IUI is not.accepted by the church, and is a.grave sin as.dissociates the marital.act from procreation and requires be committed. Same with GIFT.

However, I should.probably look into fully the church.

Just curious - - how old are you both? Is she approaching 40 or so, and is starting to feel that it is hopeless? It seems like she is trying to bully you. I would at least take a step back, and leave it alone for a month or two. Find another priest you can talk to, with or without her.

We are both in our mid 30s; she had read the NaPro book and believes that she has already gone through that or something similar within the course of treatments already that was unsuccessful.

One thing that I think needs to be discussed is that the desire to be pregnant and the desire to be a mom are not the same thing. If she truly wants to be a mom, adoption is the ideal solution. What is it that makes IVF and other treatments that have no guarantee better than adoption in her eyes and her heart? What is it about pregnancy that seems so appealing to her? An adopted child is every bit yours as a birth child. Many children are waiting for parents.

I understand that newborns-3 years tend to have waiting lists, and children that are actually waiting for families tend to have any number of physical, emotional or other problems, but honestly you can’t guarantee a 100% healthy, happy, “normal” birth child either. Those of us that have birth children often end up with heart diseases, learning disabilities, emotional problems, etc. as well. Three of my kids have heart disease. One has had 16 surgeries in his 7 years of life. Most if my kids are learning disabled. Praise God they are all happy. A desire to be a parent must be coupled with the willingness to accept that life isn’t always perfect in our eyes. God’s view of perfection doesn’t always mirror our own.

I don’t understand God’s ways but I do trust He knows best. Discuss adoption and try to come up with an understanding of why her desire to physically be pregnant and give birth means so much to her. My heart breaks for you both. I’m praying for your family.

Exactly. Great advice!

Dear OP,
The fact that your wife will threaten to divorce you over this and to find another man who will do what she wants despite your valid objections, tells me that there are bigger issues that need to be addressed before a child is brought into the mix. I know your wife is very upset, but she’s giving two very conflicted messages right now. 1) Create life with me in a way that is morally objectionable. 2) If you don’t, I want a divorce and for another man to father my child(ren). I know that emotions are running high and that she is understandably distraught, but dangling your marriage as a carrot in front of your face to get her own way despite your valid objections, needs to stop before any further action is considered.

Once that is addressed: Are you aware that there are thousands of frozen embryos open for adoption that would otherwise be destroyed? Please research Snowflake Adoptions.

God Bless!

I think it could make a difference if she started consulting with an actual NaPro physician.

I agree! My daughter felt the same way- that she had already done everything and that NaPro could offer nothing new. It only took an initial visit with the NaPro physician to change her mind! And, as I previously said in an earlier post, the NaPro physician found major issues that the infertility specialists had missed. It is worth one visit to see!

You should notify his bishop of what he said to you and your wife (you dont have to include your wife in this if its going to cause arguments)…this priests bishop needs to know that he told you to do ivf even when you said it was against church teaching…theres a chance is hes told you to do ivf then he may have told other couples to do it too…and he’s already had a bad influence on your wife as you say yourself that " my wife hangs her hat on that".

My wife and I struggle with infertility, too. We have been trying for two years, and have left the possibility open for longer. Both of us very much long to start a family. Wanting children is a big part of both of our identities. We haven’t tried IUIs yet. But we will never try IVF. It’s essentially setting yourself up for abortion of some embryos and negligent treatment of the unborn. I cannot kill to satisfy my desire to bring life into the world, even if that desire is born out of love (incomplete or disordered, perhaps, at least not prioritized properly). It’s contradictory and selfish. My wife and I are open to the possibility we may never have natural children. That is okay. We do not have a right to children (we have a right to try and to any natural children we may have, of course, but we don’t have a right to bring a child into the world at any cost).

We may end up adopting, if that is what God wills for us. It’s not easy. I pray for the grace to accept God’s will happily. Christians are called to take up Christ’s cross. We are called to suffer for Christ. That doesn’t mean we torture ourselves unnecessarily, but it does mean we commit to moral law and faith in Christ even when it is inconvenient (or more difficult than that).

You’ll find many here that have had the same problem.

NaPro is a miracle cure.

You are concerned about doing something that is against Church teaching, when you are already doing something that is against Church teaching (being in an invalid marriage). This woman doesn’t sound too wonderful to me, since she says she will divorce you if she doesn’t get her way. Doesn’t she have any respect for your religious beliefs? If that is the case, you might want to be really cautious about getting your marriage “fixed up.”

I’m not sure that this priest is really your problem. I think your wife may be your problem, since she is trying to get you to do something that you clearly don’t want to do.

Unless someone has gone through the anguish, heartbreak, and desperation caused by infertility, it’s not fair to judge. You have NO idea what that’s like. I understand your wife and why she’d say if you don’t go along with what she probably views as her ONLY option left - she can’t be with you. Assuming she loves you, she doesn’t actually mean it - she’s just in a really bad place - and the infertility put her there. Again, I totally get it - and I’m so sorry.

With God all things are possible. Don’t give up hope and keep searching for a solution you can both live with. My prayers are with you.

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